Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education announced earlier this week that the nationally-recognized, high quality Alabama First Class Pre-K program will add 55 new classrooms to 25 counties this fall.
One of those new classrooms is a second class for Elba City Schools.
During the Elba City Board of Education meeting held Tuesday evening, May 19, Superintendent Chris Moseley announced to the board that he was elated to learn a short time before the board meeting that Elba had been awarded a second Pre-K class for the upcoming school year. He said this would not only mean more opportunities for children to be accepted into Elba’s Pre-K program, but it would also mean two additional jobs being added for Elba City Schools – a teacher and teacher assistant.
The Department received 163 new classroom applications, and 123 of those met the qualifying criteria for funding. With the $6 million appropriated for First Class Pre-K in the FY2021 Education Trust Fund budget, the Department is able to fund 55 new classrooms with 68 eligible alternate classrooms on the waitlist.
“Alabama First Class Pre-K is a model of excellence in early learning for the nation,” Governor Ivey said. “By adding 55 classrooms, we will ensure that 22,500 children will build a strong foundation for their educational journey. I applaud the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education for their uncompromising work in providing high quality early childhood education.”
New classrooms will expand access to the state funded, voluntary pre-kindergarten program to 22,500 children in the 2020-2021 school year, with more than 1,250 classrooms statewide serving 38 percent of 4-year-old children, moving closer to reaching Alabama’s pre-k access goal of reaching 40,000 students. Since 2013, state appropriations for pre-k expansion have increased 350 percent. An additional 110 teachers will be employed through this year’s First Class Pre-K program funding increase.
As announced by Governor Ivey last month, for the 14th consecutive year, Alabama leads the nation in providing the highest quality early learning experiences for four-year-old children.
In addition to Elba City Schools receiving funding for its already established Pre-K 1 class and the new Pre-K 2 class, the Coffee County School System retained funding for its five established Pre-K classrooms, including, one at Kinston, two at Zion Chapel, and two at New Brockton Elementary.